Graduation is finally here! You’ve put in the time and money and studied your butt off. Now with your degree in hand and a fond farewell to the campus you’ve called “home” for years, you’re ready to move on to the next stage in life. As exuberant as college grads should be during this time, it is equally important that they not be unrealistic in the months to come. Just because college is out of the way, that doesn’t mean there isn’t more hard work (and hard times) to come.
Reality checks can be downers but should serve as more of a life lesson of sorts, especially in order to prevent any culture shocks as grads make the transition from a student on campus to a fledgling professional in the real world.
Reality Check #1: You’ve Still Got Bills to Pay
Not having to fork out money for tuition and fees, parking, meal plans and school supplies definitely puts a lot of money back into a grad’s wallet but don’t expect it to stay there for long. A large majority of people that graduate from college also graduate with student debt. Once the degree has been earned, it’s time to start that repayment plan.
Aside from paying back student loans, grads may also find themselves with other new bills on the horizon, especially if they end up moving to a new place after finishing school. New digs means coming up with the funds for rent, utilities and other related living expenses.
Reality Check #2: You’re Not the Only Fish in the Job Market Pond
Most college grads know this but not all of them really grasp the concept. The economy is getting its feet back but is still far from being the booming marketplace for jobs that it once was. Depending on the degree earned and skill set learned, starry eyed graduates could still have a difficult time finding employment. While aiming for that “dream job” is a good goal to have, these days grads need to have a plan A, B, C and even D when tackling the job market.
No matter how eager, hungry and ambitious you know you are, there are tons of others (although it’s not fun to hear) that are just like you. Employers love hiring recent graduates but the process still involves pounding the pavement, submitting resumes left and right, nailing interviews and knowing how to sell yourself.
Reality Check #3: Education is a Life Long Thing
No more school, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks! When it comes to graduating from college, this little ditty isn’t exactly accurate. Just because a person has received a college education doesn’t necessarily mean they stop learning. To stay relevant in a number of job positions, employees have to constantly stay on top of their game and the trends within their respective industry.
It is now commonplace for working professionals–even those with degrees–to go back to school, sign up for workshops, seminars or other courses in order to maintain certification(s) for their field, meet work requirements and/or be considered for promotions.